History unearthed at Rufford

09 July 2019

More of Rufford Abbey Country Park’s colourful history was revealed on Friday (5 July) as an antitank shell was discovered during remedial works around the scheduled ancient monument.

Turf was being removed as part of work to reduce soil compaction when the shell was discovered.

Examination by the Royal Logistics Corps bomb disposal team identified it as a non-explosive tip of an anti-tank shell and removed it from the site.

Councillor John Cottee, Communities and Place Committee Chairman at Nottinghamshire County Council said:  “Rufford Abbey has a fascinating history and has witnessed so many different periods of English history from medieval and Elizabethan times, through the war years to today’s country park which attracts well over 350,000 visitors each year. It’s exciting when we come across finds of this type as they continue to bring the park’s remarkable past to life.”

During the First World War Rufford made rough-cut wooden coffins for the dead. On the eve of World War II, Rufford Abbey was sold, and passed through the hands of various owners.  The estate, house and contents were eventually taken over by the Army in 1939 during the Second World War and the Leicestershire Yeomanry, 6th Cavalry Brigade were stationed there, arriving as horse-mounted troops, and leaving as motorised artillery. About 20 army huts were constructed and these later housed Italian prisoners of war.   Stripped of its fine interiors, furnishings and land, by the late 1950s it languished.  Wartime damage, coal mining subsidence and neglect left the Abbey and its grounds in a sorry state.  

In 1957 Nottinghamshire County Council bought the house and the remains of its gardens, later opening them as a country park.  Now managed by Parkwood Outdoors on the Council’s behalf, the park has something for everyone - from adventure golf to boating, craft courses to children’s trails there’s always something to enjoy.

Councillor Cottee added: “The park’s rich natural and historical features rival the very best in the country and are complemented by areas where visitors can just relax and have fun, including the newly extended play area – it’s one of Nottinghamshire’s favourite attractions and we intend to preserve it for many generations to come.”


Notes to Editors

Diary date 

Rufford at War, living history weekend is on 28th and 29th September this year.

Further details available from Rachael Dolan, Events and Marketing Manager, 01623 821332, rachael.dolan@parkwoodoutdoors.co.uk www.ruffordabbey.com

* Scheduled Monuments are nationally important archaeological sites or historic buildings. Scheduling is the UK's oldest form of heritage protection, going back to the Ancient Monuments Protection Act 1882. The current defining legislation is the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979.

A scheduled monument can be any building or structure, cave or excavation on the land or on the seabed within UK territorial waters, or the remains of one. It must be a human-created site; purely natural sites are designated under other legislation.

For further media information please contact Sarah Bailey, Senior Communications and Marketing Business Partner at Nottinghashire County Council

0115 977 3151 | sarah.bailey@nottscc.gov.uk

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